“Alien: Romulus”: Directing Icons Gave Completely Opposing Advice for New Sci-Fi Horror

Fede Álvarez makes his debut in the sci-fi series with “Alien: Romulus.” For this, he sought advice that couldn’t have been more different.

The “Alien” franchise is one of the longest-running film series in the sci-fi horror genre. For over 45 years, the terrifying Xenomorph lifeform has provided spine-chilling thrills for audiences. The combination of sexual symbolism in the design by Swiss artist HR Giger and the inherent fear of the unknown intruding into one’s own safety zone is more than capable of reigniting fear like no other film series. It’s a testament to Giger’s genius because even though the appearance of the Xenomorph is now well-known, it still manages to induce sweat every time.

This is particularly evident in the weaker parts of the six-film series. Although “Alien: Resurrection” and “Alien: Covenant” miss many elements that fans love about the films, they still benefit significantly from the eerie creature from another world. Interestingly, “Alien: Covenant” comes from the direction of Ridley Scott, a legendary director who not only created one of the best films in the series with “Alien” but also laid the foundation for the entire franchise. It’s somewhat surprising that only four directors have worked on it to date: Ridley Scott, James Cameron, David Fincher, and Jean-Pierre Jeunet.

Although Scott has directed half of the series so far, including “Prometheus,” Cameron’s “Aliens” is what fans remember most—even more than Scott’s first film. That says something. The commercially most successful filmmaker in Hollywood after Steven Spielberg may have simplified Giger’s design for his contribution, but he introduced countless elements that still define the franchise today, such as the Alien Queen, Marines, and their Pulse Rifles. He also gave the conglomerate Weyland-Yutani a human face with Paul Reiser’s Carter Burke, making it even more sinister.

Cameron’s “Aliens” was almost a complete departure from Scott’s “Alien.” Therefore, it’s hardly surprising that the two filmmakers have completely opposite ideas about what makes the series and how it should be continued. With “Alien: Romulus” appearing seven years after the last installment, a new film seems to be returning to the roots of Scott’s first film, as suggested by the first teaser trailer. More horror, less spectacle, one might think. Indeed, it was Scott who gave director Fede Álvarez the opportunity to realize his vision, as he told The Hollywood Reporter.

Álvarez had just finished his thriller “Don’t Breathe” when he talked to Scott about his upcoming production “Alien: Covenant.” He listed all the things he would do as a fan and filmmaker. Several years later, Scott approached him:

“Ridley [Scott] remembered it. He still knew about it. He said, ‘Fede proposed this thing.’ So they called me and asked, ‘Hey, do you remember the story you mentioned? Do you want to write and direct it?’ And I said, ‘Hell, yes!’ And here we are.”

“Alien: Romulus”: Director Fede Álvarez Praises Ridley Scott and James Cameron

While “Alien: Romulus” apparently mostly takes place on an abandoned research station, reflecting the claustrophobic atmosphere of the original, the teaser trailer also reveals that, simply due to the sheer number of Facehuggers and a probable Pulse Rifle prototype, James Cameron’s influence is also being acknowledged. In fact, Álvarez also had the opportunity to discuss with the creator of the “Avatar” films. And that was quite memorable:

“It’s also fascinating because [James Cameron’s and Ridley Scott’s] remarks and comments are completely opposite. They didn’t repeat each other’s notes. Whatever Ridley [Scott] said, [James] Cameron said something else. They were all smart comments, notes, and thoughts about the film and filmmaking, but both had completely different approaches.”

By the way, both Scott and Cameron have already seen the film, according to Álvarez, and think it’s great. Especially coming from Cameron, this should be praise that fans can take seriously because he is not involved. “Alien: Romulus” will be released in theaters nationwide on August 15, 2024. You can currently get the “Alien” films 1 through 6 on Amazon as an Easter deal on Blu-ray.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You might also like